Health Care

Vermont downgraded on White House report, despite continued low infection rate

A Covid-19 outbreak at apple orchards in Shoreham this month bumped Vermont slightly higher on the coronavirus scale, but it remains the best in the nation for its Covid response. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Vermont was moved from “green” to “yellow” in the latest White House task force report, but remains best in the nation for its Covid-19 response.

Concern about the rising case count from an Addison County outbreak was the central reason Vermont’s Covid rating moved from “green,” or good, to “yellow,” or concerning, according to a report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The report, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity via a records request, also cites the increasing numbers in the region. State officials in Vermont have also said the Northeast’s bump in cases could be worrying.

But Vermont continued to rate well in its test positivity rate — the percent of tests that came back positive for the virus — and the number of tests performed compared to its population.

Meanwhile, 26 other states, including nearby Rhode Island, were rated in the “red” zone for Covid cases, according to the report. No states were in the green zone this week.

Small outbreaks in Vermont have been linked in recent weeks; five cases linked to a golf course in Bennington; 26 cases among seasonal apple pickers in Addison County; and most recently a dozen cases connected to hockey leagues at a civic center in Montpelier

The rising case totals elsewhere in the region have also affected Vermont’s travel restrictions, which limit, on a county-by-county basis, who can travel to the state without quarantine. Only a few counties in the Northeast currently qualify for unfettered travel to Vermont.

However, there are no current restrictions in the 13 states, plus Washington, D.C., that are within Vermont’s guidelines on Vermonters coming in or people from their state going to Vermont. 

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Erin Petenko

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